Council passes capital budget

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By Marganne Glasser

Los Alamos County Council has adopted the proposed Long Range Financial Plan for capital improvements with the proviso of reviewing the plan every six months. Councilors have also shaved $150,000 from the county administrator’s budget that had been earmarked for community branding.

During a public hearing Monday night, Ron Wilkins, chair of the Fuller Lodge Advisory Board, notified the council of the goal of jointly creating a regional historical center with the Historical Preservation Board. The boards are in the process of identifying a site for a facility and creating an advisory board.

County Administrator Max Baker gave a retrospective of county government growth over the past 10 years. He elaborated on the development of the capacity to handle large scale projects and called the county government the best in the state, including an expanded fire department and a consolidated 911 dispatch system.

The largest single increase in the county budget is from 546 full-time equivalents (FTE) 10 years ago to the current 664. The county has increased its share of contributions to employee benefits from 60 percent to 80 percent, which has made county salaries more market-competitive.

Council Chair Jim Hall noted that the county acted as a responsible employer by moving temporary and casual labor roles into permanent ones.

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